As the men’s World Cup hovers on the horizon in its rather imbalanced place at the end of year, instead, women’s football takes centre stage this summer with UEFA Euro 2022, beginning on Wednesday.
With England hosting the tournament for the second time, nine different venues across the country will entertain the best on the continent, as Wembley Stadium hosts the final on July 31st.
The hosts, on their own patch are strongly fancied to win their first major tournament and the Lionesses have reached the final of this competition twice before, most recently during 2009’s edition in Finland. The second favourites at 9/2 with Betway and Bet365, it is Spain however, who are tipped in the markets to break their own silverware drought. Jorge Vilda’s La Roja are the marginal bookies’ choice at 4/1 with UniBet.
Germany, meanwhile, the seven-time winners of the trophy since 1991 are 8s with SpreadEx, whilst Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema leads the Netherlands into the competition at a not altogether unappealing 11/2 with Unibet.
If the search for an outsider appeals, Sweden are the pick for many. Ranked fifth in the world, the Swedes won the inaugural competition in 1984 but since then have reached the final only once – losing to Germany in 1995. Unbeaten this year and in 2021, captain Caroline Seger has her team well marshalled and will be hard to dislodge. A 7/1 price with BoyleSports are shorter than Germany, but Sweden are sneaking up on the radar.
This summer’s race for the Golden Boot looks to be a hotly contested. Ellen White has had an underwhelming season for Manchester City, but the England striker always raises her game for country and given her performances in Tokyo for Team GB 12 months ago, top scorer at a home Euros looks great value at 6/1 with SportNation
Home fans will be no stranger to Miedema as documented and White’s biggest rival could come from the Gunners’ number 10, as she reverts to a striking role for the Dutch. The record scorer in the Women’s Super League to date, Miedema knows how to find the net in England and will be one to watch this July, at 8/1 QuinnBet.
Just like the tournament battle, Spain will likely also push the hosts hard and goals will likely come in the form of current Ballon D’Or owner Alexia Putellas. With La Roja’s skipper Jennifer Hermoso absent through injury, the Barcelona midfielder will have the pressure on her shoulders to an even greater to degree. A 12/1 shot with 10Bet for a deeper-lying player, Putellas is a decent shout for the prize.
Elsewhere, Danish and French hopes in the tournament will be led by another two record scorers in the shape of Ada Hegerberg and Marie-Antoinette Katoto. The former is returning to the international scene following a five-year absence after protesting her federation’s lack of support for the national team. Hegerberg is the all-time Champions League top scorer and after hitting form in last season’s semi-finals and final, a lengthy 20/1 with Betfair and BetVictor is worth interest.
Finally, Katoto, is the leading scoring in PSG history and with France in the weakest Group – if there is one – the 23-year-old will be eyeing early goals. At 7/1 with SkyBet, even if Corinne Diacre’s charges do not progress beyond the last eight, Katoto could have built a sizeable lead in the charts already.